Yesterday I called my mom like I do everyday. Sometimes it’s once, sometimes it’s twice and sometimes it multiple times. Sometimes I have something to tell her, sometimes I just want to say hello, sometimes I just want to check in and see what she’s up to; no matter what the reason I like to touch base with her. Yesterday I called and she was volunteering for Hospice, like she has done for as long as I can remember.

I have always said that my mom buys packages of sympathy cards like some people buy thank you cards. Ever since I was living under her roof I remember my mom always taking care of someone much older than herself and when those friends came to the end of their life on earth, she would then find someone else to take care of. While each friend left a lasting impression on her Jewell was my all time favorite. She treated me like a grand-daughter and prayed for good grades, safe travels back and forth from college and once even told me she was praying I would find a good boyfriend! After years of bad ones Jewell’s prayer was finally answered when I met Tom; I’m sure she would approve and love his accent.

My mom always connected with each of these friends and had such a healthy view of their passing; really knowing how to take care of them in their final days. I call these individuals her friends because I’m sure each and every one of them would call my mom their friend.

Over the years I witnessed my mom take care of 4 people who truly meant the world to me; my biological grandparents. I was very lucky, my grandparents all got to see me turn 30, they were all married for over 60 years and they all loved their grandchildren and great-grandchildren very much; actually one may say we were a bit spoiled.

As my grandparents health started to fail, first my Grandma Dieter, then Grandpa Dieter (both before Anna was born), then Grandpa Philbin and finally my Grandma Philbin, we (my brothers and I) watched as my parents did what they could to make sure they were taken care of in their own homes. We never went to a nursing home to visit them, only to their houses which, if I close my eyes and take a deep breath I can not only see but smell all of its goodness, it is that ingrained into my being.

My mom, even though at times totally overwhelmed with the duties as caregiver, made sure each of my Grandparents had what they needed in their last days on earth; lots of love. Selflessly my parents put their own needs aside for this season and demonstrated to us some very valuable lessons. Lessons you don’t read about in books but rather have to be witnessed.

So, when I called my mom yesterday and she was volunteering for Hospice I couldn’t help but think that the peace I have of my girls transition from this earth to eternity was grounded not only in my love for God but also in the foundation my mom laid so many years ago.  She taught us to appreciate death in a way that celebrated life.

My mom can often be found at her parents “condominium” at Greenhaven Cemetary, talking to them and looking at their pictures which are beautifully displayed where their bodies were laid to rest, just like I, her daughter, can be found often at a tree outside my house, talking to my girls.

Parents are supposed to go to Heaven before their children and in my life this is not the reality. I know that growing up as my mother’s daughter and witnessing her strength when it comes to death has given me strength. I have learned a lot from my mom, all very important lessons, but as I now reflect, this has been one of the most valuable.

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I know your reading this mom and just as you are proud of me I am proud of you! Thank you for teaching me that death doesn’t have to be the end of our love. You have taught me so much through the years and I know that I have not told you enough how much you mean to me. Thank you for loving my kids with all your heart just like Grandma loved us. Our love drenched life is definitely hereditary. I Love You!


17 thoughts on “Lesson

  1. This is so beautiful and true about your mom! She has and always will be my second mom! I love you momma Dieter ❤️❤️❤️ You and your entire family are so kind and loving and I am so proud to have them in my life! Susan…you are my sunshine and I thank God everyday for you!


  2. I am in tears…..knowing your mom and you for practically my whole life….how moving to see these photos and just “feel” the love shared. …I have many fond memories of the both of you that I cherish…..love to you both♥♥


  3. Susan,
    Thank you for this beautiful tribute, but it is now you dear Susan that is giving me strength and courage. Our phone calls, your words on this beautiful blog, pictures of your happy family, Anna and Abigail’s beautiful faces, our family memories, so healing to me and so many of us.
    I know our beautiful girls are happy and smiling in heaven but I must admit that it is your words of faith that gives me even more peace and understanding and I am so grateful to you for that.
    I pray everyday for you and Tom and all of us who love Anna and Abigail (and there are many) I feel my prayers being answered through you and Tom each and everyday.
    I am so proud to be your mother and Anna and Abigail’s Nana. I love you so much


    1. My heart is filled with such love and gratitude for having your loving mom in my life… And now YOU through your touching blog. I met you at your birth as I was privileged to witness and share in the births of all you beautiful children of Mary Ann and Dick. Your mom is truly a blessing to all she touches in her life. I saw her care for her parents as we both traveled that inevitable final journey with our precious parents. It was then I remet you and was introduced to that sweet angel of yours. The three of you.. ….Such models of love and loving, …mirrors of each other. Praise God that you three grace all our lives.


  4. Thank you again for sharing! As I have two more classes on being a hospice volunteer, I met 40 of us newbies, all ages. But a young man about 20 was my favorite to be partnered with. His Grandmother is a hospice volunteer for years and he has been a volunteer for one year. I love hearing their stories and what it has brought them in their lives. For this young man to start so early in life blessing people with just being there. He was pure joy be around. Thank you for sharing about your mom and your girls. , it warms warms my heart!! 🙂


  5. What an awesome tribute to a beautiful lady (inside and out). Susan… you are just like your mom and I am beyond blessed to be a part of this amazing family. I have learned so much from both of you and I am a better woman and mother for having you both in my life. Love you guys so much


  6. No matter how much we learn in school, the lessons learned from watching our parents and grandparents are the most valuable lessons on all. These mold our spirits for our lives. Your mom has helped mold your and prepared you for your life’s journey.


    1. Oh my….sorry about the typos! I meant most valuable lessons OF all and that she has helped to mold you and your life. Every time I get used to WordPress and how it works, they change the features. Cannot figure out how to edit a comment any longer. So, I hope you get what I meant. :o) time for more coffee I do think. May God continue to bless your mother’s work in hospice.


  7. When I met your mom I knew right away she was a special woman. It was no surprise since I already knew how special you were. We talked about about being parents and grandparents and how special our families are to us. In fact, I liked your mom so much when I met her that I almost emailed you and asked if you thought she might like to be facebook friends and would you call me when she’s in town again. Then I realized that I’d only known her for a few days and didn’t want to be considered a stalker. lol You are so lucky to have her in your life and I know she feels the same about you.


  8. oh my goodness that is so beautiful. Having met your mom a handful of times- its obvious you two share that humble loving spirit. Love to you both today!


  9. After becoming a parent, you truly understand the love and sacrifices your parents made for you and for others. What a blessing that your mom’s example is helping you find peace as you celebrate your love for Anna and Abbi here and in heaven.


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